Britain Is Pushing For DNA Testing For All Cancer Patients
Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies is pushing for universal gene testing according to recent reports. The British official is working to make what is recognized as Genome Medicine as standard as MRI, CT scan, and blood tests for cancer in the near future.
What is the Human Genome?
Every human being has a genome that can be defined by just over three billion “letters” of genetic code, or two terabytes of data. Two-hundred thousand stretches of DNA make up the human genome, which contributes to the amount of protein that a person’s body produces. Scientists can spot irregularities brought about by cancer and other tumor cells by looking at a person’s genome and noticing different developmental patterns. DNA testing, hence, has the power to identify potentially deadly diseases at a faster rate than traditional exams.
Genome Medicine in the Present
British doctors diagnose about 330,000 cancer cases every year. Less than 20 percent of patients diagnosed underwent DNA testing that could have spotted the illness before it progressed. A significant factor in the limited number of patients taking advantage of genome testing lies with the lack of availability. Although medical staff throughout Britain are capable of conducting DNA exams for cancer, there are only 25 regional laboratories with the equipment needed to perform such evaluations.
This lack of diversity is what Chief Medical Officer Davies hopes to champion by 2022. It is the government official’s belief that all potential cancer patients should have access to the best diagnosis options. Davies’ vision is certainly in line with the path that health care has been on in these past few years. The medical field is steadily becoming more personalized with access to on-demand physicians and other health care options at a patient’s fingertips. Genome medicine appears to be the next step in the personalized medicine wave that is taking Britain and other developed nations by storm.
Hope for the Future
Genome medicine could do wonders for cancer research and detection. Patients in the early stages of the disease could gain access to medications that could divert the drastic effects of the illness. Extensive sessions of chemotherapy may even be reduced as the result of DNA testing since most cancer patients undergo such aggressive treatment after the disease has spread to several areas of the body.
Only time will tell the effects of DNA testing in cancer detection and treatment. For now, Chief Medical Officer Davies is advocating for Britain to adopt a universal policy when it comes to genome medicine.